Gabrielle Giffords, Who Survived a Shot to the Head, Says U.S. 'at Crossroads' with Gun Violence

"We can let the shooting continue or we can act," the former congresswoman said during her speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night

Gabrielle Giffords
Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords speaking Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention.

Delivering pre-recorded remarks during the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords voiced a full-throated support for Joe Biden's plan to limit gun violence in the United States.

Giffords, 50, was shot in the head and nearly killed in 2011 by a gunman who killed six others, including a federal judge named John Roll and a 9-year-old named Christina-Taylor Green. In total, 13 people were injured in the Tucson mass shooting.

Appearing Wednesday at the all-remote DNC, Giffords said she believes that if Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, is elected in November he will lay out a plan to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

"We are at a crossroads," Giffords said. "We can let the shooting continue or we can act. We can protect our families and our future."

Giffords, who retired from Congress in 2012 to focus on her recovery, has become a leading voice on gun violence prevention, often speaking up in the wake of mass shootings as she did in 2017 after the Las Vegas concert massacre.

"I've known the darkest of days. Days of pain and uncertain recovery," Giffords said Wednesday. "But confronted by despair, I’ve summoned hope."

She continued: "My recovery is a daily fight but fighting makes me stronger. Words once came easily. Today I struggle to speak."

"But I have not lost my voice," Giffords added. "America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words."

Gun Violence
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2017. UNITED STATES - MAY 3: Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., speaks during a news conference with Americans for Responsible Solutions and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to a call on Congress to address the issue and resist the agenda of gun lobbies on May 3, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The former Arizona lawmaker gave her remarks following a brief speech by Indiana mother DeAndra Dycus and a montage showing 20-year-old gun reform advocate Emma Gonzalez speaking out following the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, that she survived.

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow died in the 2011 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, will speak at the Republican National Convention next week.

Dycus delivered pre-recorded remarks, focusing on her 13-year-old son DeAndre Knox, who was paralyzed by a stray bullet. Knox is now 19, but the shooting left him a quadriplegic and unable to speak.

"Everyday we're reminded that he may never be the same," Dycus said. "President Trump, he doesn't care. He didn't care about the victims after Parkland, Las Vegas, or El Paso. I want a president who cares about our pain and grief."

Giffords went through an extensive recovery process following the 2011 shooting. She returned to the House floor seven months later, in August 2011, and received a standing ovation from her colleagues.

The former lawmaker, who advocates for gun reform through an organization bearing her own name, called on viewers to vote for Biden in November. Her husband, Mark Kelly, is running for the Senate in Arizona this year as well.

"Vote, vote, vote," she said Wednesday.

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